Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Diana Henriques was the first to interview Bernie Madoff on August 24, 2010, after his incarceration on June 29, 2009. She plays herself in various scenes throughout this movie interviewing Madoff (Robert De Niro), and has said that the resemblance was so uncanny, she got goosebumps just sitting opposite him.
-The film's premiere drew 1.5 million viewers, making it HBO's largest premiere viewership for an HBO film in four years; additional replays and viewings through the network's streaming service brought the film's total viewers to 2.4 million for its premiere weekend.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The scene in which Mark shifts the blinds up and down and makes phone calls in his kitchen before committing suicide was improvised by Alessandro Nivola and Barry Levinson; none of it was in the script. As Nivola recalls, "Barry had finished the shoot day in my apartment, and we were sitting around like, 'Well, what do we do now?' We both read somewhere that, in the last days before he killed himself, (Mark) had started making phone calls to his brother and to their lawyer, relentlessly, recounting to them things that he had read in the tabloids about them and all of this media vilification of them. He would call them so much, that they stopped taking the calls, so he just started leaving messages, constantly, where he would alternately be in a total rage, and then incredibly calm, apologetic, and rational seeming. So, we decided to shoot something like that. Barry just set up the camera in the kitchen and he gave me this phone and said, 'I'll just run the camera and you start making some calls.' I improvised for an hour, and just started calling, over and over and over again. He filmed it all, and then he cut it together in that great final frenetic little montage of conversations. That was all just something that Barry had suggested that we try on the fly, because he bought so much time by being so efficient."